Oil stick on 2 pieces of wood, 2010, approx. 20 x 10 cm
What are you working on in your studio right now?
Because of the huge high walls off my studio it's a great place to try anything that comes into my mind. I can pin different art works together on the wall and try different combinations. Currently I am preparing for an exhibition in the month of June in Friesland, that is very near where I live. The title of the exhibition is 'Far Worlds, Ireland'. The Lithographs that I made last summer in Ireland while I was artist an residence fit in with other older art works. Every new combination of art works accentuates certain aspects that I see on my wall and everything changes constantly
Can you describe your working routine?
I enter my studio and the first thing that I do is to take my everyday Moleskin drawing book and a pencil and I start to draw. I don't have a plan. The only thing is it should be a horizontal drawing or a vertical one. The themes of the drawings change from day to day and I can go from a very black mood drawing to a light dreamy kind of theme the next day. It is like a drawing diary. The mood that I am in and things that have happened to me, can be read directly from the drawing of the day. I always find it very inspiring just to sit down and draw and look at my other artworks as well.
Can you describe your studio space and how, if at all, that affects your work?
My studio is in an old school building which I share with 16 other artists. The walls of the room are 4 meters high and it is very light because of the big windows on the south. The big walls give me the opportunity to play along with different kind of art works and techniques together on the wall. My studio is in Groningen which is a medium sized city in the north of the Netherlands with a University.
Oil stick on Irish bog oak, 2008, approx. 12 x 2 cm
Tell me about your process, where things begin, how they evolve etc.
This is a quote of a colleague of mine concerning my artworks: “I defy painting in every possible way there is”. I want to find out where the limit is for me. Often my art works have a lighthearted, humorous attitude in which I try, for myself, to be relative the history of painting. I often wonder what an art work is and what can be a medium to create it on. In the past I made a painting on a spatula, strips of wood and I had a preference for long thin and divergent canvasses. While creating these artworks I questioned myself, what can be a medium to create a painting on? And how do these artworks relate to each other and the space of the wall around them? The next phase in this process was to make my paintings more like objects. I used French oakwood or Irish bog oak to create a painting on and I left parts of the surface unrefined.
Oil stick on newspaper, 2011, approx. 100 x 90 cm
I have experimented a lot with material because I want find new ways of painting and drawing. One of my experiments is to use big sheets of sanding paper. I cut it into a shape, then paint it with gesso and some color and burn it with a very hot soldering iron. This very brutal way of drawing creates special lines and surfaces. After this I made a few art works which you could literally see through. For example a painted fringe made out of wood. When looking at it more closely you will experience that the middle is empty. Is this also a part of the art work? Can this “emptiness” in the middle of the art work be seen as full or empty? Because of this the art work seems to be part of the wall and because of this double vision it is hard to know what you are seeing. Utensils also fit in this process of the painting as an object. I used a matchstick or other large sticks to apply oil sticks or paint on them. Then they become more than ordinary daily utensils and they get double meaning because you can still see the function but can’t use it anymore.
I always find it important that my art works are spatial and flat objects on the wall. They make you aware of the space around them….The art work doesn’t stop at its border but should be thought through the space of the walls that surround it. That why I place them next, above and under each other. In this way the white off the wall is important to and they act like they are one big artwork.
22-2-2012, drawing in moleskine
What are you having the most trouble resolving?
The question what should I do next or what will be the next move.
Do you experiment with different materials a lot or do you prefer to work within certain parameters?
I use wood, paper, newspapers, sanding paper, carton and lino. I use these materials as a basis for oil sticks. I also create Lithographs if I go to Ireland to stay and work as an artist in residence, which I did twice already.
What does the future hold for this work?
Gouache on 3 spoons, 2009, approx. 5 x 5 cm